How do I insure my car?

Insuring your car with Budget Direct is quick and easy:

  1. Decide what type of car insurance you need
  2. Get a quote – we’ll ask you some questions about you and your car
  3. If you’re happy with the quote, buy a policy – your car will be covered from the policy start date you select.

How soon after buying my car must I insure it?

You’re responsible for your car as soon as you buy it; before driving it anywhere, it’s advisable to insure it.

All vehicles in Australia must have compulsory third party (CTP) insurance before they can be registered and legally driven on the road.

If the car you’re buying is already registered, the CTP insurance will be transferred to you – you won’t have to buy CTP insurance for the car until the current registration expires.

CTP insurance doesn’t cover loss or damage to your car or damage to other people’s property, unlike other types of car insurance.

Can I buy car insurance before purchasing a car?

It takes less than an hour to buy car insurance, so most people buy it on the same day they purchase the car, before driving it.   

You can, however, buy insurance ahead of time if you’ve agreed to purchase the car from a dealer or private seller and are able to provide us with the following details:

  • year
  • make
  • model
  • colour
  • dealer options and/or non-standard accessories
  • modifications
  • registration number.

If you replace your Budget-Direct-insured car with a similar one, we’ll automatically provide the same level of cover for your replacement car for 14 days from the purchase date – even if you don’t contact us. (Cover for your previous car ends at the same time.)

Your replacement car will be temporarily insured for its market value or purchase price, whichever is lower.

You’ll just need to make sure you update your existing policy before the temporary cover expires.

All vehicles in Australia must have compulsory third party (CTP) insurance before they can be registered and legally driven on the road.

If the car you’re buying is already registered, the CTP insurance will be transferred to you — you won’t have to buy CTP insurance for the car until the current registration expires.

When taking out car insurance, what do I need to tell you?

When you get a quote for car insurance, we’ll ask you a series of questions about you (and any other drivers) and your car.

For example, we’ll ask you how the car will be used, where it will be parked at night, and about the insured drivers’ driving and claims history.

Your answers will help us assess the risk of insuring you and your car and, in turn, calculate your premium.

It’s therefore important you answer the questions truthfully and completely.

Why do you want to know about my car insurance claims history?

When you get a quote for Budget Direct car insurance, we’ll ask you about your claims history – specifically any claims you’ve made over the past five years.

This helps us to accurately assess the risk of insuring you and your car and calculate the cost – your premium.

It’s therefore critical this information is complete and correct.

If it’s not — if you under-report your previous claims — we can reduce the amount we pay you if you make a claim; or deny the claim.

How can I find out about my car insurance claims history?

When you get a quote for Budget Direct car insurance, we’ll ask you about your claims history over the past five years.

Not everyone can remember how many claims they’ve made in that time and/or the relevant details.

If you’re unsure, you have two options:

  1. Contact your previous insurer/s to request a report on the claims you’ve made with them over the past five years.
  2. Order a ‘My Insurance Claims Report’ from Insurance Reference Services. (Insurance claims, including withdrawn and denied ones, are held on your report for 10 years.)

How are car insurance premiums calculated?

There are lots of factors that can influence the cost of car insurance — your premium — including:

  • your policy, including the level of cover and excess amount
  • the drivers, especially their ages and claims history
  • the car, including its value and performance
  • where you live
  • how you use the car.

For more details, read our article about the cost of insurance.

How much can I insure my car for?

With Budget Direct, you can insure your car for its market value or, in some cases, for an agreed value.

Market value is the reasonable cost to replace your car with one of the same make, model, age, mileage and overall condition. 

To get an idea of what your car may be worth, search for it in the Red Book or on car sales websites.

Please note that the prices provided by these sites are only meant to be a guide. Your car's market value will be determined by us at the time of the loss or damage.

Agreed value is the amount we agree to insure your car for. We may offer you an agreed value, provided:

  • your car is less than 10 years old; and
  • your car has not been converted to LPG; and
  • the agreed value is within an acceptable range of the market value.

The value for which your car is covered is shown on your insurance certificate and in your online account.

Which drivers must be listed on my car insurance policy?

With Budget Direct, you must list any household members (including learner, provisional and occasional drivers) who may drive the car. Unlisted household members won’t be covered.

Any non-household members who are not excluded drivers (e.g. due to age restrictions) are automatically covered. If you list them on your policy, you’ll avoid having to pay the unlisted driver excess (other excesses may apply).

Can my insured car be kept at a different address to the one on my policy?

Car insurance premiums are partly based on the postcode in which your car is normally kept overnight; and whether it’s kept in a garage, carport or on the street.

By normally, we mean most of the time.

For the majority of people, the location they normally park their car overnight is the same place they reside.

However, your Budget Direct-insured car is still covered if you keep it somewhere else overnight (e.g. if you’re staying with family and friends across town or interstate).

Just as long as you keep your car elsewhere less than you keep it in the postcode stated in your insurance policy.

Budget Direct car insurance is conditional on the policyholder and/or regular driver living at the same address the car is usually kept.

If you need to change the postcode where your car is mostly kept, you can edit your policy via your online account.

Can I transfer my no-claim bonus or driver rating from my current car insurer to Budget Direct?

Yes – as long as you send us proof of your current no-claim bonus (or no-claim discount, as we call it) or driver rating.

This proof – which you must send us within 14 days of the start of your Budget Direct policy – can be in the form of a renewal offer or letter from your current insurer.

Please send any offer or letter – with the subject line ‘NCD [policy number]’ – to:

Email:   csd@autogeneral.com.au
Fax:      07 3377 8855
Web:    smartcapture.com.au
Post:    Auto and General Services
            PO Box 342
            Toowong QLD 4066

We’ll factor in the rating when we calculate your premium.

Can car insurance be in joint names?

Yes — a Budget Direct car insurance policy can be held by two or more people in joint names.

Each joint policyholder automatically gives authority to the other to amend or cancel the policy.

A change requested by one of the joint policyholders will be treated as having been requested by all of them.

The person who drives the car the most must be listed as the regular driver; it is their no-claim discount or driver rating that is used to help calculate the premium.

In addition, all household members (i.e. people who live together) who drive the car must be listed on the policy, otherwise they will not be covered.

Anyone can pay for the policy, regardless of whether they’re one of the joint policyholders and/or listed drivers.

Can I have two car insurance policies?

Yes — with Budget Direct you can take out two or more separate car insurance policies (one per car) in your name. 

On each policy you must be listed as one of the drivers; whoever drives the car the most must be listed as the regular driver. 

We do not offer multi-vehicle car insurance policies, whereby multiple vehicles — typically owned by people residing at the same address — are bundled into one policy.

If you’re thinking of taking out two policies for one car, think again. Not only will you be paying two premiums, if you make an at-fault claim you’ll have to pay both policies’ excesses; and the combined insurance payout will not exceed your loss.

Can I get car insurance for multiple cars?

Some insurers offer multi-vehicle car insurance, whereby two or more vehicles are insured under the same policy and payments are combined into one bill. 

These multi-car insurance policies are mainly designed to reduce paperwork; they may also earn you a discount on your premiums.

Even though they’re insured under one policy, each car is treated separately, based on its make and model, who drives it, where it’s kept overnight, the level of cover, etc.

Budget Direct does not offer multi-vehicle car insurance, however if you buy cover from us online we’ll discount your first year’s premium by 15%.

And you can keep track of your insurance easily by linking all your car and other policies in your online account.

Will you insure a car that’s got pre-existing damage?

When you get a quote to buy Budget Direct car insurance, we’ll ask you whether your car has any existing hail and/or accident damage.

If it does, our decision whether to cover your car will depend on how much damage it has.

If we agree to cover your car, we’ll ask you to upload photos of it via our Online Car Inspection website, or have the car checked at a nearby inspection station.

When does my car insurance take effect?

Your Budget Direct car insurance will take effect the day you buy the policy – unless you’ve chosen a later date for your cover to begin, in which case it will take effect on that date.

Will I need a car insurance cover note or letter?

Budget Direct doesn’t issue cover notes, which are temporary documents issued by some insurers to cover policyholders until they receive their formal insurance documents.

Instead, when you buy a policy from us, we’ll give you a policy number – confirmation your car is covered.

What if I'm selling or trading in a car and buying another one?

If you’re trading in your car, you’re responsible for it until the purchaser/dealer takes possession of your car.

You can then insure your new car by changing the car details on your existing Budget Direct policy, either by calling us on 1300 306 560 or logging into your online account and editing your policy.

If you replace your Budget-Direct-insured car with a similar one, we’ll automatically provide the same level of cover for your replacement car for 14 days from the purchase date – even if you don’t contact us. (Cover for your previous car ends at the same time.)

Your replacement car will be temporarily insured for its market value or purchase price, whichever is lower.

You’ll just need to make sure you update your existing policy before the temporary cover expires.

I'm insuring a car bought on finance – do I need to do anything in particular?

If you’re buying your car on finance, ask the finance company whether they have any special insurance requirements.

They usually require the car to be comprehensively insured and for you to provide proof of insurance – a certificate of currency, for example, which we can give you.

The car finance company has asked me for a certificate of currency – what’s that?

A certificate of currency is a document that proves your car is insured.

Among other things, the certificate shows the period of insurance, the sum insured, and the interested party, namely the finance company.

It assures the finance company that, if your car was written off in an accident, the company would be the first to be paid out.

How can I get my certificate of currency?

You can download your certificate of currency from your online account immediately after purchasing your Budget Direct car insurance; or you can call us on 1300 306 560 to request the certificate.

What car insurance policy documents can I expect to receive?

Your Budget Direct car insurance policy documents comprise:

  1. Certificate of insurance – your proof of insurance, including your sum insured, excesses and add-on benefits.
  2. Policy schedule – contains a summary of what you have disclosed to us in regard to the insured car and drivers.
  3. Product disclosure statement – tells you everything you need to know about the product, including the terms, conditions, limits and exclusions that apply; and how to make a claim.

Is it the car that's insured or the driver?

It’s the car that’s insured, however it’s extremely important to consider who will be driving it.

If you’ve chosen to restrict your Budget Direct policy to drivers above a certain age (21+, 25+, 30+, 40+ or 50+), your car will be covered only while being driven by someone over that age.

Moreover, household members who drive your car will be covered only if they are listed on your policy.

Non-household members who are not excluded drivers (e.g. due to age restrictions) are automatically covered to drive your car.

By listing them, you’ll avoid having to pay the unlisted driver excess in the event of a claim.

Can I get short-term car insurance – for example, for a day, a week, a month?

No – Budget Direct car insurance policies are effective for one year (although you can choose to pay your premium fortnightly, monthly or annually).

At what age does the cost of car insurance go down?

Generally, the younger you are, the more you’ll pay for car insurance 

That’s because young drivers are statistically more likely to have an accident.

As they age (and gain driving experience) and all other things being equal, their premium will generally come down.

This happens gradually — there is no particular age at which the cost of car insurance suddenly drops.  

However, age is just one of numerous factors taken into consideration when calculating a person’s premium.

Claims history is also critical. It can mean a 40-year-old driver with two at-fault claims in the past two years, say, pays more for their cover than a 25-year-old with a driver rating of 1 who has had no claims.  

To find out more about how car insurance premiums are calculated and how you can save on yours, read our ‘How much does car insurance cost?’ article

Can a person be denied car insurance?

Yes – insurers are not legally required to provide car insurance to anyone who requests it, though it’s rare for someone to be denied cover.

Among the reasons an insurer might deny someone cover are licence cancellations/disqualifications, drink and/or drug driving offences, criminal convictions (e.g. for insurance fraud) or an adverse claims history.

What car insurance can I get with a suspended drivers license?

If your drivers licence is suspended — due to unpaid fines, an accumulation of demerit points, or a high-speed offence, for example — it’s illegal for you to drive.

Consequently, insurers may not cover any car you propose to drive. 

Once your licence is reinstated, you may be able to get cover, though your premium may be higher due to your driving record. 

As long as you hold a valid Australian drivers licence or permit, you can apply for Budget Direct car insurance. 

If we ask you questions, it’s important to tell us anything relevant to our decision to ensure you and under what terms; we’ll then consider your application. 

If we don’t offer you cover, you may be able to find an insurer who will on the Find an Insurer website.

Does Budget Direct insure Driverless cars?

Currently, there are no fully driverless cars for sale in Australia. 

Budget Direct does insure several models of cars that have driverless features, including:

  • autopilot
  • adaptive cruise control
  • automatic emergency braking
  • automatic parking
  • lane-keep assist
  • sign recognition
  • steering assist.

Read more about driverless car insurance.

Get a car insurance quote online